Is a Midwife The Right Choice for You?
Congratulations, you’re taking an important toward improving your health and looking for a provider! Whether it’s for contraception, family planning, pregnancy, and birth care, or other services, you have plenty of options.
Women who are empowered to make decisions about their healthcare—especially during pregnancy—are consistently shown to be happier and more satisfied with their experience.
Types of Providers that Deliver Babies
The type of provider who will be with you during your labor and birth experience will have a big impact on your care. In the United States, and you’ve probably heard about doctors and midwives on social media and online groups. We’ll explain your options!
In many countries, you can choose to see a doctor or a midwife for women’s health services. There are two different kinds of physicians who take care of pregnant people: obstetricians and family medicine physicians.
These types of providers will take excellent care of you, especially if you have an underlying health condition like diabetes or high blood pressure.
The Role of Certified Nurse Midwives in the United States
In the United States, there are several different kinds of midwives. The majority of midwives (over 90%) are Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs). CNMs are registered nurses with an advanced degree (master’s or doctoral) in midwifery.
They are board-certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board and follow recommendations of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Most CNMs practice in hospitals, but some deliver babies in birth centers or at people’s homes.
CNMs specialize in caring for low-risk, healthy women, although some care for women with more complex problems, usually in collaboration with a physician who provides consultation.
CNMs honor the normal lifecycle of women’s lives and strive to work in partnership with women to offer individualized care. You can visit www.midwife.org for more information about CNMs.
Other Kinds of Midwifery Practice
You should be aware that there are other kinds of midwives who practice in the United States. Other midwives include CPMs (Certified Professional Midwives) and lay or licensed midwives (LMs); these midwives have varying degrees of training and may not practice in all states.
As you look for a provider, make certain you understand the type of professional you are seeing.
Regardless of who you choose to see for your birth, make sure to ask about what kinds of practices they follow:
- What is their rate of cesarean births?
- Do they allow you to move around freely during labor?
- Can you give birth in any position you choose?
- Is the umbilical cord cut after it stops pulsing?
The answers to these questions give you get a sense of both the provider and the culture at the place where you give birth and can help you decide if it is a good fit for you.
Finding the right provider for you may not be immediate, but it will be worth the time of finding someone who is a good fit for you!